BirdLife says shot protected birds recovered during raptor migration

Shot birds recovered by BirdLlife during migration of over 600 raptors flying over Malta to Africa

A shot Marsh Harrier recovered by BirdLife
A shot Marsh Harrier recovered by BirdLife

BirdLife Malta has reported having collected injured protected birds which were confirmed shot by the government vet.

Following a Marsh Harrier found on the road at Fiddien which was confirmed shot, another three illegally shot protected birds were recovered on Saturday.

“We recovered a shot Hoopoe from Siġġiewi with injuries to the wing and leg, a shot Honey Buzzard from Tal-Virtù and even a Scopolis Shearwater which was suffering from an injury to its right wing and which was also confirmed shot by the vet. This bird was retrieved from the sea in St Julian’s.”

With these latest casualties, the total of known illegally shot protected birds since the start of this year's autumn hunting season has now reached 14, which adds up to an average of one bird for every day of the season since the 1st of September. Four of these birds were collected in the last 24 hours.

“We invite Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri to consult his own Wild Birds Regulation Unit to confirm that we are not inflating the numbers, and to share this post in the same way he tweeted the FB post uploaded by the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) earlier on Saturday,” BirdLife said.

CABS this week reported that hundreds of birds of prey had arrived in Malta at night and stayed at the Buskett Gardens nature reserve.

In addition to about 500 Honey Buzzards and 100 Marsh Harriers, Montagu’s Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Peregrine falcons and Osprey were also seen.

“Expecting a ‘hot morning’ following a few incidents in recent days the CABS teams took position at dawn to monitor the birds' departure. With them were hundreds of hunters in the area. To our surprise, there was not a single shot as the raptors took to the skies and crossed the hills on the west coast of Malta onward towards Africa. Ten years ago, there would have been dozens of birds killed - a clear sign of a change in the Maltese hunting community and a great success following decades of work. Thanks to our great Malta team!” CABS said in a Facebook post.